Lipid-rich Plaques Detected by Near-infrared Spectroscopy Are More Frequently Exposed to High Shear Stress

J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2021 Jun;14(3):416-425. doi: 10.1007/s12265-020-10072-x. Epub 2020 Oct 9.


High wall shear stress (WSS) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) detected lipid-rich plaque (LRP) are both known to be associated with plaque destabilization and future adverse cardiovascular events. However, knowledge of spatial co-localization of LRP and high WSS is lacking. This study investigated the co-localization of LRP based on NIRS and high WSS. Fifty-three patients presenting acute coronary syndrome underwent NIRS-intravascular-ultrasound (NIRS-IVUS) imaging of a non-culprit coronary artery. WSS was obtained using WSS profiling in 3D-reconstructions of the coronary arteries based on fusion of IVUS-segmented lumen and CT-derived 3D-centerline. Thirty-eight vessels were available for final analysis and divided into 0.5 mm/45° sectors. LRP sectors, as identified by NIRS, were more often colocalized with high WSS than sectors without LRP. Moreover, there was a dose-dependent relationship between lipid content and high WSS exposure. This study is a first step in understanding the evolution of LRPs to vulnerable plaques. Graphical Abstract.

Keywords: Coronary artery disease; Intravascular ultrasound; Lipid-rich plaques; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Vulnerable plaques; Wall shear stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / metabolism
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Coronary Vessels / chemistry
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Patient-Specific Modeling
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rupture, Spontaneous
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*


  • Lipids